“What do recent trade data portend? The news is not good, and suggests that not only is the world economy weaker than it was earlier this year but that more weakness lies ahead…
“The Baltic Dry Index, a closely-watched indicator based on bulk commodities shipping that serves as a reliable indicator of future trade activity, has fallen by nearly 50 percent since August (after doubling in the first eight months of the year), squelching hopes for a rebound in global trade…
“Slowing trade growth is adding to economic woes around the world. What is worse, trade tensions and the uncertainty they have spawned are likely to leave a long-lasting scar on the world economy if they continue affecting business confidence and, therefore, investment growth.”
“As the U.S.-China trade war drags into its 16th month and continues to disrupt supply chains, more than one-quarter of multinational firms have not made contingency plans, showed a survey from a subsidiary of courier giant DHL…
“48% from the engineering and manufacturing industry and 40% from the automotive mobility sector reported that they had no contingency plans at all…”
“Car sales in China, which helped Germany’s biggest brands weather the financial crisis, have slowed for 17 months in a row, drastically reducing a key source of revenue at the precise moment it is needed to fund new technologies.”
“The latest bond default by a Chinese industrial group at the epicenter of a regional debt storm is escalating concerns about a cluster of private firms entangled in risky financing.
“Shandong-based Xiwang Group Co., which failed to make good on a delayed repayment on a local bond, is scrambling to refinance and avoid deeper trouble after triggering cross-default clauses on other bonds.”
“Clouds of tear gas returned to Hong Kong over the weekend as police and protesters clashed, signaling pro-democracy rallies are set to drag on after demonstrators got a boost from an election win and support from the U.S. Congress.
“Tensions rose in the former British colony — a special administrative region of China since 1997 — as thousands of black-clad protesters marched in the busy tourist district of Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday afternoon…”
“Between the slings and arrows of China’s global trade war with the United States, a separate battle has been brewing between the Asia-Pacific’s next two largest economies: Japan and South Korea.
“But unlike the economic issues underpinning Beijing’s fight with Washington, Tokyo and Seoul’s dispute is fundamentally rooted in bitter grievances that date back to Japan’s occupation of South Korea during World War II.”
“When 6pm struck in Colombia, the sound of banging pots and pans – the “cacerolazo” – echoed across the country like they have since the mass anti-government protest kicked off more than a week ago. But on Sunday, the thousands of Colombians gathered on the streets of the country’s biggest cities were not alone.
“Colombia joined at least nine other countries in the region in what was dubbed a “Latin American Cacerolazo”.”
“Zimbabweans are facing a bleak few months beyond the festive season as a financial crisis – characterised by rising hyperinflation, foreign and domestic currency shortages, and company closures – worsens the plight of the populace in an economy already burdened by drought and the ongoing effects of Cyclone Idai.”
“The upcoming presidential election on Dec. 12 in Algeria is seen as a safe way out to end the political crisis hitting the North African nation, amid growing fears of deterioration of the economic situation, as forex reserves and oil revenues, backbone of the economy, continue to drop sharply.”
“The Lebanese economy is experiencing its worst crisis since the civil war began in 1975. Government debt amounts to $88.4 billion — 150 percent of Lebanon’s gross domestic product
“…the political class denying the people’s demands for a new government of honest, independent people — is aggravating the financial situation.”
“Iraqi protesters set fire to the entrance of a shrine in the southern holy city of Najaf on Saturday… Abdul Mahdi’s resignation announcement came hours after a call from Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric for the government to step down to end the unrest.
“The burning on Wednesday of the Iranian consulate in Najaf, the seat of Iraq’s influential Shi’ite clergy, only deepened the crisis.”
“India’s economy is in a “very deep crisis”, witnessing “death of demand”, and the government is “befooling people” by its “brave talks” that the growth would be better in the next quarter or the one after that, said former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on Sunday…
“”No matter what the powers that be say, the fact is that we are in a very deep crisis.”
“Debt has now hit what the Institute of International Finance (IIF) in Washington calls “mind-boggling” proportions and Unctad – the UN body dealing with trade, investment and development issues – has warned of a new debt crisis…
“Financial crises have crept up unawares on the world before and it seems likely they will do so again.”
“Washington’s most stalwart and consistent fiscal hawk, Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget… cautions that the fiscal situation “is the worst it has been since just after World War II,” adding…
““No one knows when the tipping point is or what it looks like, but those are questions we shouldn’t want to find the answers to.””
“Now, as policy makers grapple with the slowest growth since that era, a suite of options on how to revive their economies share a common denominator: yet more debt. From Green New Deals to Modern Monetary Theory, proponents of deficit spending argue central banks are exhausted and that massive fiscal spending is needed to yank companies and households out of their funk.”
Brilliant – we can borrow our way out of a debt crisis! After all, if you’re in a hole, the most sensible thing is surely to keep digging.
“Nomura’s analysts wrote. “A sustained surge in food prices is unlikely to cause a global economic recession, but it could cause a humanitarian crisis on a global scale.””